A majority of the population is considered to be Christian; other Vanuatuans follow indigenous traditional religions. The Anglican, Presbyterian, and Roman Catholic churches began missionary work in the New Hebrides during the 19th century. More recently, the Seventh-Day Adventists and other nontraditional Protestant groups have been active in mission work. Most mission schools have been handed over to the government, but the missions have continued to make important contributions to education and health. Since 1940, the John Frum cargo cult (a rejection of the white Christian's beliefs but not his goods) has flourished, mainly on Tanna and provides a remarkable example of religious development in a situation of cultural challenge and transition. Membership, however, is only about 5% of the population.
In 1995 the government passed a Religious Registration Act in response to concerns expressed by some established churches about the activities of new missionary groups, such as the Holiness Fellowship, Jehovah's Witnesses, and the Church of the Latter-Day Saints. It was repealed in 1997.
At last estimates, 48% of the population were Presbyterian; 15% were Catholic; 12% were Anglican; 7.6% followed indigenous beliefs; 6.2% were Seventh-Day Adventist; 3.8% were members of the Church of Christ; and 15.7% were designated as other. Muslims are also active within the country.